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TECH TIP  -  Power Options for your PC

Sleep Mode, Suspend, Standby, Hibernate, Shutdown – These are all power management options for your PC.  But which one should you use.

First a bit about each.  It should be noted that these terms are not standard industry terms – that is, one manufacturer’s Standby might be another’s Hibernate.  Or one manufacturer’s suspend may be another’s Sleep.  So you have to be aware of your computer’s terminology - read your manual or help files.    But here are some general rules.

So having said all that, which one should you use?   Well, that kind of depends if you have an older system on an older computer or a newer system on a newer computer. 

Windows 95, 98, and ME do not handle power management tasks very well.  So, you may not want to use any power management at all.  I have run these systems and have never had good results with using power management.  In fact, it is most necessary to re-boot these systems everyday or even several times a day to refresh or recover the system resources. 

If you are running Windows XP or Windows 2000 on a new computer (last couple years), you can use any of the power management tasks quite successfully.  I prefer to use Suspend (or Standby or Sleep or Instant On) rather than Hibernate.  The Hibernate mode requires several hundred MB of hard disk space because you have to write the contents of RAM to the hard drive.  If you have 256 MB of RAM, you will need at least 256 MB of hard drive space.  Many new computers come with 512 MB of RAM these days.  Besides, it does take quite a while to “wakeup” because it has to re-write everything back to RAM

So I would suggest that if you have open applications with data (such as a Word file), save the file and then use Suspend or Standby or Sleep or Instant On (or whatever they call it on your computer).  You will be computing again in literally a few seconds.

One last thing:   If you are running XP, how often should you restart your computer?  Windows XP (and Windows 2000) are such stable systems that you can easily get by with a restart once a week.  If an application crashes, it rarely affects the system.  The system remains intact with all its system resources working.  I usually restart my computer about once or twice a week (whether it needs it or not).  When I walk away from my computer (yes! – I do walk away from it occasionally), I just put it in Standby.  When I return, I am computing again in 5 seconds.

Read more about Power Management at this Microsoft link